Cable network

Cable network

:"This article is about the type of television channel. For cable television infrastructure, i.e. the cable network in the physical sense, see cable television."

Cable network is the most common colloquial term for a television channel available via cable television, particularly in the United States. Such channels are usually also available via satellite television, including direct broadcast satellite providers such as DirecTV, as well as through a variety of alternative means, although for simplicity the shorter term is usually used. Alternative terms include "cable "channel", "non-broadcast" network", or "programming service," the latter being mainly used in legal contexts.

The term "cable network" is something of a misnomer. While usually national in scope, cable networks are not television networks in the defined sense (as are, for instance, CBS or NBC), since they provide a full national schedule and do not need to act through individual local stations in each media market. However, individual cable and satellite providers that carry them are sometimes called "affiliates", in recognition of the agreements required for these providers to carry each channel and that most networks offer each system a block of one or two minutes each hour to carry local advertising (or promotions for the satellite companies).

Examples of cable networks include USA Network, ESPN, and Nickelodeon. HBO and Showtime are classified as premium television services, not cable networks, as they are commercial-free and not included in standard multichannel cable packages.

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